Posts Tagged ‘Plassenburg castle’

Folklore and politics

Leaving behind impressive Bayreuth at the foot of the Fichtelgebirge (Fichtel Mountains) we cycle north through the peaceful landscape of Oberfranken (Upper Franconia) toward Lichtenfels, our first stop on a tour that will take you from a beer making region to a wine growing and making region. All within a couple of 100 kilometres! This region is not only rich in brewing traditions, but also in legends and folklore. On this part of the tour you will come through three villages that have interesting stories associated with them, each telling about the strifes each village had to conquer in their times. These stories tell about the importance of succession, greed and plain misunderstandings.


1280px-Plassenburg_in_Kulmbach_-_InnenhofThis city is not only known for being the place of confluence for the red and white Main, but also for one of Germany’s more impressive castles – Plassenburg castle – and Bratwurst! During your visit you will have an opportunity to discover both, while pondering one of the legends told about one of their ‘leading ladies’: The White Woman.

In the year 1340 after the death of her husband Otto, the countess of Orlamünde – a mother of two – decided she needed to remarry and had someone special in mind: Albert from the Hohenzollern house. Her husband-to-be supposedly had said, that four eyes were in the way of him marrying her. She interpreted it meaning her two children and killed them! He had meant his parents! When he found out, he was shocked, understandably, and left her. She, wracked with remorse, went on a pilgrimage and founded a monastery where she lived until her death. After her death she continued to appear to and warn Albert’s descendants of impending doom.


Burgkunstadt,_Marktpaltz,_Westteil-003This city has a coloured past starting in the 8th and 10th century when it was designed to be a fortified rural castle village. The following centuries brought war and pestilence, but by the beginning of the 19th century the city and the region began to prosper again, as they adopted the concepts of industrialisation and changed from a rural town to a place of manufacturing of shoes. This was the main industry until the end of the 20th century. The closure of the shoe factories meant having to find new means of supporting the region and they focused on becoming a centre of higher education for the region. You will be able to enjoy the change of lifestyle brought here by the students during your break in the town.

This town’s legend involves a count, his wife, their newborn son and a golden cradle! The short of it: an angry mob of farmers attack the castle to rob the cradle. After suffering heavy losses the count gets captured but refuses to say where the cradle is despite being threatened to be killed in boiling hot oil. The search after his death reveals nothing: neither mother nor child nor cradle to be found. Supposedly they had been hiding in a tunnel, which collapsed during the fighting and buried the lot!


WickerYour final destination will show you a working example of middle class enterprises supporting each other; meaning it has an above average employment rate. Mainly traditional crafts for household items, but also modern businesses in laser technology and tool fabrication create a healthy economic environment.Koerbe “World” famous for its woven baskets, the markets offering those goods for sale are particularly charming. And its fame is such, that they have created a festival and web page celebrating the wonderful art of wicker weaving. Unfortunately the page itself is only in German, you might want to ask your guide to translate for you.


Most regions with a strong craft economy also have legends about their unearthly little helpers. So does Lichtenfels, or rather near-by Bad Staffelstein. Querkele were little friendly and helpful people/dwarves that LOVED to eat the local potato dumplings. Everyone knew about their love, which made them steal the dumplings out of the cooking pot and tolerated it because they were such useful friends. Then one day, a greedy miserly farmer’s wife decided she had had enough and put a stop to it, by counting out loud how many dumplings she put in the pot. Thereby implying she wasn’t going to put up with any going missing. The Querkele noted that and moved on. Sadly they not only left her to her own devices, but they left the whole region never to be seen again. If you hear anyone complaining they wished they hadn’t left, you’ll know why.

Author: Petra Alsbach-Stevens


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